Let us compare the words of the Lord Jesus, in John 17:17, with the statement of the Holy Spirit by the Apostle Paul, in II Thessalonians 2:13.
“SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” “BUT WE ARE BOUND TO GIVE THANKS ALWAY TO GOD FOR YOU, BRETHREN BELOVED OF THE LORD, BECAUSE GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION THROUGH SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH.”
In the seventeenth chapter of John we read these words of the Lord Jesus concerning His disciples: “Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.” “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name; those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:2 and 12.
The Lord Jesus had given unto His disciples eternal life, and then had kept them. Now He was praying for them that they might be in the world but not of the world.
“I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.” “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the-world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:9 and 15.
Some time after this prayer of the Lord Jesus, after He had died and come forth in His resurrection body, He said to these same disciples: “John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” Acts 1:5.
Note what John the Baptist said about four years before the death of Christ: “I indeed have baptized you with water; but He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8.
Then note the statement of John 7:39—“The Holy Spirit was not yet given.” Again, “If I go not away, the Holy Spirit will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” John 16:7.
While Christ was on earth no one experienced the baptism into the Body of Christ, mentioned in I Corinthians 12:13.
We may call the Lord’s earthly ministry “the days of the Son of man.” During those days the Son of man was under the law observing with the Jews their God-given religious ceremonies, carrying on their” law” program. The Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses’ seat. Matthew 23:1 to 3. During those days the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent down from heaven. It was during those days, months before the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, that the apostles were baptized with water unto repentance for the remission of sins. Note the testimony concerning John the Baptist: “And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” John 1:31. “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Luke 3:3.
Concerning His own death and resurrection note what the Lord Jesus told His baptized disciples about two years after they were baptized with water: “And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again.” Luke 18:33.
Then note their reaction: “And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken,” Luke 18:34.
In Luke 12:48 to 51 the Lord Jesus referred to His approaching death as His baptism. Years later the risen Lord revealed the truth of Romans 6:3 and 4: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
The Divine baptism of Romans 6:3 and 4 is efficacious. It transforms the believer from a sinner to a saint; takes him out of Adam and puts him into Christ, a new creation, and identifies him with the Lord Jesus Christ in death, burial and resurrection.
Some Christians read two baptisms into Romans 6:3 to 6, and insist that the transformed believer should be immersed to witness to the world that he has died with Christ, been buried with Him, and raised to walk in newness of life. But this is a mere human supposition as there is not one verse of Scripture stating that water baptism is for a witness to unbelievers. In the light of plain Scriptural facts we must all admit that none of the twelve apostles received water baptism as a witness to the world that they were identified with Christ in His death and burial.
Then hear Paul’s testimony concerning his baptism: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16. This is in accord with Peter’s message, on the day of Pentecost
“THEN PETER SAID UNTO THEM, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS: AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.” Acts 2:38.
Here water baptism first, then Holy Spirit baptism.
And Peter’s command in Acts 2:38 is in agreement with the “baptism” message which John the Baptist had proclaimed about four years before Peter preached to devout Jews from every nation under heaven. Acts 2:5.
The Twelve received John’s baptism many months before they received the Holy Spirit; months before they knew that Christ would receive His death baptism and be buried. Luke 12:50 to 53.
If Christian water baptism began with the resurrection of Christ, the twelve apostles did not receive that baptism. They received Holy Spirit baptism.
The Scriptural facts we have thus far presented are to refute the arguments of Christians who teach that we are justified and saved when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, when we are baptized with water; but we are not sanctified until we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Some call this a second work of grace.
They offer the experience of the twelve apostles, or that of the one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper room, on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven, in support of their “sanctification” theory. They seem to forget that these disciples were saved in the days when the Son of man was under the law, before He died on the cross, while the Jewish priests were still offering their sacrifices on their altars with God’s approval, before the Holy Spirit was yet given.
They could not have received the Holy Spirit when they believed. Neither could the twelve men of Acts 19:1 to 7, have received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They, too, were baptized “unto John’s baptism”. Paul asked them, “Believing (pisteusantes) received ye the Holy Spirit?” Their answer was “No”. They had not believed the new message. They had not heard whether the Holy Spirit had yet been given.
Note the contrast in Ephesians 1:13 “Believing, (pisteusantes) ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit.” They received the Holy Spirit the very moment they believed the gospel. We of today were not saved before the Son of man died on the cross, but 1900 years later. We were never told to tarry in Jerusalem or in any other city to wait for the advent of the Holy Spirit. Note the question which Paul put to the foolish Galatians: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:2 and 3. Then in verses 13 and 14 we are told that Christ died on the cross that believers might receive the Holy Spirit.
Note the order in I Corinthians 6:11, “washed,” “sanctified” and “justified.”
Eternal life is God’s free gift to believing sinners. Romans 6:23. So also is the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5. The believing sinner does not have to tarry for, or work for, or agonize for, or pray for, or ask for the gift of eternal life, or for the gift of the Holy Spirit in this day of grace. Neither does the believer receive eternal life or the Holy Spirit on the installment plan. The Holy Spirit is a Person. He has been sent down from heaven. I Peter 1:12. But He had not been sent down from heaven at the time the twelve apostles received John’s water baptism. Let us not be confused when we read in Acts 8:5 to 15, that the believers, in the city of Samaria received the Holy Spirit several days after they were baptized with water, and Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized with water. Cornelius was the first Gentile to whom the Twelve preached. God gave him the Holy Spirit, so Peter would accept him and baptize him.
All of this transpired while Peter had the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the gospel of the circumcision. Galatians 7 and 8. This was before Paul declared the truth of Romans 10:12, I Timothy 2:4 and Romans 3:24.
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.”
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In connection with Paul’s grace message he said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize.” I Corinthians 1:17.
All Scripture must be interpreted, appropriated and applied as to whether the recorded event or spiritual program, under consideration, took place before or after the important fact stated in Acts 14:27
“AND WHEN THEY WERE COME, AND HAD GATHERED THE CHURCH TOGETHER, THEY REHEARSED ALL THAT GOD HAD DONE WITH THEM, AND HOW HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH UNTO THE GENTILES.”
And then we must see the changes in God’s program from Acts 14:27 to Ephesians 3:1 to 4:12.
All Divine truth must be studied in the light of developments, and God’s revealed spiritual program after the words of Paul in Acts 13:46, “Lo we turn to the Gentiles.” We do greatly err when we have the door of faith opened before God opens it. So let us mark the change of Acts 14:27.
Note carefully these plain statements:
“Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:12.
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10 and 14.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied.” I Peter 1:2.
How are believing sinners sanctified? By the blood of Christ, as that blood is applied by the Holy Spirit.
Now note I Corinthians 1:30: “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Here, as in all Scriptures, “sanctification” is the same word elsewhere translated “holiness”. Which comes first, “sanctification” or “redemption”? Read it—“sanctification” and “redemption”.
Read I Corinthians 6:11—“And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Why has the Holy Spirit here placed “sanctified” before “justified”? This is the answer to the unscriptural teaching that justification precedes sanctification.
Believers are sanctified once for all by the offering of the body of Christ on the cross. Hebrews 10:10. “Sanctified” or “holy”, both in the Hebrew and the Greek words, means “to be set apart by God or set apart for God.”
Note I Timothy 4:3 and 5 begins with word “meats” in I Timothy 4:3. Here we learn that beef, mutton, or even pork can be sanctified or made holy by the Word of God and prayer. Pork could not have been holy meat for a Jew under the law. It was unholy. But we are not under the law.
Now note Revelation 11:8, that Jerusalem, the holy city, is called “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
Jerusalem is called “the holy city”. “Holy” does not mean “sinless”. Meat is neither sinful nor sinless, but it is holy by prayer and the Word of God.
In Colossians 2:16, we read that members of Christ’s Body have nothing to do with holy days. Israel had sanctified days and sanctified animals. Time and again the same Levites had to be re-sanctified for service in the Lord’s sanctuary. The sanctuary was the Lord’s appointed place for the service and worship of the priest. The sanctuary was “the holy place.”
“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of Divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” Hebrews 9:1. “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” Hebrews 9:7. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24. “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:2.
Then note Ephesians 2:6 and 1:3 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
“BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO HATH BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST.” Ephesians 1:3.
Every member of the Body of Christ is seated in the heavenlies with Christ. And how is he blessed 9
What folly for a member of the Body, seated in the heavenlies, complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), blessed with ALL spiritual blessings, to look for a second blessing. Then note Ephesians 1:19 and 20.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”
Think of such an one seeking more power!
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour; for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:22 to 27.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Colossians 3:1 and 2.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Seythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:10 to 14.
“LIKEWISE RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.” “NEITHER YIELD YE YOUR MEMBERS AS INSTRUMENTS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO SIN; BUT YIELD YOURSELVES UNTO GOD, AS THOSE THAT ARE ALIVE FROM THE DEAD, AND YOUR MEMBERS AS INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO GOD.” Romans 6:11 and 13.
“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2.
Hear this important truth—“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts 20:32.
God, our heavenly Father, calls His children unto “separation” and unto Christian service.
Note how the truth is stated in II Thessalonians 2:13 and I Thessalonians 1:9 and 10 “Chosen unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” “Turned to God from idols to serve the living and the true God and to wait for His Son from heaven.”
But what about I Thessalonians 5:23—II Corinthians 7:1 and Hebrews 12:14? “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
We have already learned that Jesus Christ is the believer’s holiness. The man who has Christ has holiness and is holy. Now note II Corinthians 1:21-22. “Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
“Christ” is, in the Greek, “the Anointed”. When the believer receives the anointing He abides with him (I John 2:26 to 28), for he is sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30.
A Christian is a “Christ one”. He is a Christian by grace through faith; not of himself, not of works. Ephesians 2:8 What is the evidence? “The sealing of the Holy Spirit”, “the earnest of the Spirit in the heart”. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit in his heart. He receives the Holy Spirit the very moment he becomes a Christian by believing the gospel of salvation, and receiving Christ. No matter how religious, moral or sincere a person may be, he is not a Christian if he is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Now note Ephesians 1:14.
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
What kind of a body does the believer have? “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” This word “perish” is literally “rot thoroughly”. The body of the believer is called “the body of humiliation”. Philippians 3:21. When Christ shall appear, the purchased possession will be redeemed; then the believer will have a glorified body. In the meantime “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8.
II THESSALONIANS 2:13
“BUT WE ARE BOUND TO GIVE THANKS ALWAY TO GOD FOR YOU, BRETHREN BELOVED OF THE LORD, BECAUSE GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION THROUGH SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH.”
Read this—Study it—Believe it. Salvation is the result of sanctification and belief. Sanctification first, and salvation the result.
There are several physical laws that must be observed and obeyed if man would develop physically.
There are several spiritual laws that must be observed and obeyed if man would develop spiritually.
1—The worship of God.
2—Regular Bible study.
3—Regular and constant prayer.
4—Assembling with God’s people.
5—Testimony and service for the Lord.
With all of this there must be obedience to II Timothy 2:15 and 1:7—”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
In closing, we quote Colossians 1:9 and 10 and Philippians 1:10 and 11.
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” “That ye may approve things that are excellent: that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
There is no short cut to a spiritual separated life.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.